Town Center developer to meet with council Monday 

Town Center developer to meet with council Monday

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The Jeffersonville Town Center's developer will meet with the City Council on Monday to discuss his schedule for announcing financing and tenants and to secure a $5 million incentive package from the city.

In an interview Saturday, Vision Land Development President Kent Arnold anticipates asking for the first reading of financing ordinance on Aug. 7. He said details relating to leasing and his financial partner for the $130 million retail complex will be announced 'as late as Aug. 7 and likely a little bit before.'

Arnold said his discussion with the council will take place during its special session at 5:30 p.m. Monday. The panel meets in regular session at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

The proposed 130-acre retail and office complex will straddle Veterans Parkway at Hamburg Pike. Development on the south side of Veterans Parkway is scheduled to include upscale shops and restaurants and a movie theater. The project's north side, which is being developed by Koetter Development Group of Floyds Knobs, will include an office campus and discount retailers.

Council Vice President Keith Fetz plans to introduce a resolution Monday to withdraw the city's support for the project. The measure was on the council's agenda about a month ago, but Fetz agreed to table it when Arnold said financing and leasing announcements were pending.

'If I'm out anywhere in a public setting ' (the Jeffersonville Town Center) seems to be the number one topic of discussion,' Fetz said. 'We gave them every tool possible to develop a successful development. They have done nothing but waste our time and the taxpayers' time.'

Councilman John Perkins, who plans to support Fetz's resolution, said he spoke with Arnold last week and told the developer, 'If you know something good about your financial package, now is the time to let us know.'

But not all of the board's members believe the city should bail out on Arnold, who is based in Cincinnati.

'Until Mr. Arnold says ' 'I can no longer make this project go,' I think you need to stay with him,' said Councilman Ron Grooms. 'If you had other proposals, other alternatives ' I'd say, 'Hey, you've had plenty of time, it's time to look to some other group.'

Councilwoman Connie Sellers agreed with Grooms' assessment, saying some people who live in her council district have encouraged her not to thwart the development.

'We've not given them anything, so why bother saying we're not going to give them anything,' she said.

The Jeffersonville Town Center was proposed three years ago and broke ground last year. Since then, Arnold has missed several self-imposed deadlines to make announcements relating to financing and leasing. Throughout the process, Arnold has said he would make the information available before asking the city to approve the proposed $5 million bond package, which would be repaid from Tax Increment Financing receipts.

Arnold said that by the time the council takes its first vote on the bond issue, he will be 'approaching 20' leases signed. The council could approve the bond issue only after a public hearing and would likely consider the bond ordinance's three readings over at least two meetings.

Fetz said it is critical that Arnold's vision of an upscale complex come to fruition if anything is to be built at all.

'There's going to be kind of slim pickings (of moderately-priced retailers), based on Clarksville's success' in attracting those types of businesses to its side of Veterans Parkway, he said.

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